08 /04/17

Do you know what your dog’s different barks mean?


Different barks represent your dog’s different emotional states – and are key to controlling behaviour.

ome dog breeds bark more than others. Some breeds don’t bark much at all. But most owners will be able to recognise their dog’s different barks, and know that each bark is for a different reason. Recognising each bark, and understanding the message behind it, helps you identify how your dog is feeling, what it is they want, and is key in controlling their behaviour. Here are some of the most common barking behaviours explained:

As an alert:

This is a loud, authoritative bark that you’ll hear when someone is at the door, or when your dog perceives a threat. It’s their way of letting the world know that they are there to protect you. While it can sometimes sound annoying, remember that it’s your dog’s way of taking his job as defender very seriously.


This is a repetitive, high-pitched bark that is sometimes accompanied by a whine. This type of barking is common for dogs with separation anxiety.


This is an upbeat, happy bark, common among puppies and young dogs. Many dogs will bark while playing with people or with other dogs. And of course, we hear that bark when our dogs know they are about to go for a walk.

"The puppy eyes aren't working, it's time for Plan B..."


This bark does what it says on the tin – short, sharp, and designed to get you to look. Which it usually does.


This is a repetitive bark that is sometimes accompanied by repetitive motion such as running back and forth, and reflects the dog’s frustration with their present situation, such as if they are facing a physical barrier or their movement is somehow restricted.

Responding to other dogs:

This is probably a familiar scenario – one dog in the park starts barking, and the rest of the park joins in the chorus.

Dog choir, Regents Bark, London, 2016

Just as there are many ways we express ourselves, there are many other different kinds of barks that dogs use to communicate, and it's critical that you listen closely to understand just what they are saying.